Tuesday, September 29, 2009
MACON, Ga. - The Atlantic Sun Conference and Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) announced the schedule of games for their popular CSS A-Sun Game of the Week television package, marking the eighth consecutive year of A-Sun men’s basketball being featured in primetime.
All 11 member schools will be featured at least once during the nine-week programming schedule. The schedule opens on Friday, January 8, when UNF and new head coach Matthew Driscoll travel south to take on FGCU. One year after returning only two players, the Eagles bring back 11, including four starters. One week later, Mercer, off a 17-win season in 2008-09, takes on USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. in the Spartans’ first home CSS contest. Last season, the Spartans won their home contest with the Bears in a double-overtime thriller in which they stormed back from a 12-point deficit with only 3:32 remaining. The Bears make a second CSS appearance the following week, again on the road in a meeting with Stetson. In six games versus the Hatters, the Bears’ James Florence has averaged 29.5 points and registered a pair of games in which he made at least seven 3-point field goals.
The fourth week of CSS contests features the conference’s two intra-city rivalries. The week kicks off with a special Tuesday night contest from Nashville, Tenn., for the “Battle of the Boulevard” between Lipscomb and Belmont. For the first time since 2005, Belmont does not enter the season as the defending champion while Lipscomb, featuring the inside-outside combination of juniors Adnan Hodzic and Josh Slater, poses as one of the league’s top candidates to emerge atop the standings. Three nights later, the scene shifts to Jacksonville, Fla., and the River City Rumble when UNF hosts defending regular-season champion Jacksonville. The Dolphins, off an NIT appearance, return a strong nucleus of Ben Smith, Lehmon Colbert and Ayron Hardy.
“We are extremely pleased to extend our tradition of The Atlantic Sun/CSS Friday Night Game of the Week package,” said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “The matchups tabbed for broadcast promise to deliver exciting contests and each game provides a valuable opportunity to showcase our outstanding basketball teams, and more importantly, the dynamic member institutions in the A-Sun,”.”
One week after taking on their crosstown rivals, the Dolphins and Bruins face off at the Curb Event Center. One year ago, the two met in a pair of memorable contests book-ending the conference season. In the conference opener in Jacksonville, the Dolphins stormed back from down 19 to pull out a late one-point victory. In the final regular season game of the year, the two met in Nashville with the regular-season title at stake and Jacksonville raced out to an 18-point advantage only to see Belmont rally and force overtime. The Dolphins secured the victory and the regular-season crown thanks to a final-minute 3-point field goal from Marcus Allen.
“We are happy to engage in another season of broadcasting the -Atlantic Sun Game of the Week- with CSS. Their format targets the Division I collegiate audience well for us, in some of our nation’s most competitive media markets,” said RMG LLC-Rights Marketing Group, President John Zarzycki. “We look forward to growing the awareness of the A-Sun, our corporate partner program and our Building Winners for Life initiative in support of the student-athletes”.
ETSU, the reigning conference champions, take the CSS stage each of the next two Fridays, hosting Kennesaw State on February 12 then facing Campbell at the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center / Gilbert Craig Gore Arena seven days later. The Buccaneers look to rely on Mike Smith, the lone remaining member of a three-headed monster that featured him and the graduated Courtney Pigram and Kevin Tiggs. The Owls, eligible for A-Sun and NCAA postseason play for the first year look to return to the form of the three years prior to 2008-09 when they went 26-28 in A-Sun play. The Camels feature Jonathan Rodriguez, one of the nation’s most prolific scorers and rebounders along with 2008-09 Freshman of the Year Lorne Merthie.
The final regular-season broadcast, set for Saturday, February 27th will feature a to-be-determined “hot game” based on matchups and postseason implications. The Atlantic Sun and CSS will also continue to partner together to bring additional regular-season women’s games, rivalry games and extensive postseason coverage.
“Our partnership with the Atlantic Sun allows us to offer our viewers more of the games, conferences and teams they want to see”, said Mark Fuhrman, general manager of CSS. “CSS values the long-standing relationship we have had with A-Sun”.
Matt Stewart and Sonny Smith return as the voices for the broadcasts. The CSS A-Sun Game of the Week makes up just a portion of the Atlantic Sun’s entire television package and other games will be added to the television schedule throughout the year. The most current television schedule is always available at www.atlanticsun.org.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts five of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most dynamic and prestigious private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.
Rights Marketing Group LLC (RMG) is based in Atlanta, GA and is the exclusive marketing and media partner of the Atlantic Sun Conference. RMG works with Division I college athletic conferences and universities.
CSS is a 24-hour sports channel carrying a full slate of college sports programming lineup. With over 40 live football games, the channel offers a comprehensive sports lineup throughout the year. The channel also offers more than 200 men's and women's live college basketball games and over 50 live baseball games, as well as a comprehensive mix of sports news and in-depth sports analysis geared toward fans in the south.
For more information on CSS, or to find out how you can get CSS on your cable system, log on to www.csssports.com.
This release was provided by the Atlantic Sun Conference.